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Planning Your Trip? Find Out the Best Months to Visit Vietnam
Vietnam is a captivating destination with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re planning a visit to explore its bustling cities, relax on its pristine beaches, or trek through its lush mountains, choosing the right time to visit can greatly enhance your experience. In this article, we will guide you through the best months to visit Vietnam, taking into consideration weather patterns, festivals, and tourist crowds.
January to March: Ideal for Exploring Northern Vietnam
If you’re looking to explore the northern parts of Vietnam such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, or Sapa, January to March is an excellent time to visit. During these months, the weather is relatively cool and dry in northern regions. You can expect clear skies and pleasant temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) in Hanoi to 20°C (68°F) in Halong Bay.
This period also offers a chance to witness one of Vietnam’s most celebrated festivals – Tet Nguyen Dan or simply Tet. Falling around late January or early February according to the lunar calendar, Tet marks the Vietnamese New Year and is celebrated with colorful parades, traditional performances, and vibrant decorations throughout the country.
April and May: Springtime Charm in Central Vietnam
April and May are considered some of the best months to visit central regions of Vietnam like Hue, Hoi An, and Da Nang. During this time of year, temperatures are mild with average highs ranging from 25°C (77°F) in Hue to 30°C (86°F) in Da Nang. The humidity is relatively low compared to other months.
Exploring ancient temples in Hue or strolling along Hoi An’s lantern-lit streets becomes even more enjoyable as nature awakens during springtime. The landscape is adorned with blooming flowers and lush greenery after the rainy season, creating a picturesque backdrop for your visit.
June to August: Beach Retreats in Southern Vietnam
If you’re dreaming of soaking up the sun and enjoying the sandy beaches of southern Vietnam, June to August is the perfect time to visit destinations like Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, or Phu Quoc Island. During these months, southern regions experience their dry season with high temperatures ranging from 30°C (86°F) to 35°C (95°F).
While it can get quite hot and humid during this period, the coastal areas provide a refreshing escape with cooling sea breezes. Whether you’re lounging on the pristine beaches of Mui Ne or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Phu Quoc Island, you’ll find ample opportunities to relax and unwind.
September to December: Fall Foliage and Festivals
September marks the beginning of autumn in northern Vietnam, offering picturesque landscapes as leaves change color and fall foliage paints the scenery. This is an ideal time to explore places like Hanoi, Sapa, or Ninh Binh. The temperatures start to cool down gradually during these months, ranging from 20°C (68°F) in September to 15°C (59°F) in December.
In addition to enjoying breathtaking natural beauty, visiting during September to December allows you to witness some fascinating festivals such as Mid-Autumn Festival and Full Moon Festival. These celebrations offer a glimpse into Vietnamese culture through vibrant lantern displays, traditional performances, and delectable mooncakes.
When planning your trip to Vietnam, consider the best months based on your preferred activities and desired weather conditions. Whether you want to explore ancient temples in Hue or relax on pristine beaches in Phu Quoc Island, there is a perfect time for every traveler. By aligning your visit with favorable weather patterns and vibrant festivals across different regions of Vietnam, you can ensure an unforgettable experience in this enchanting country.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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17 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
Written by Jess Lee Updated Aug 30, 2023
Vietnam is an astonishing mix of natural highlights and cultural diversity.
The scenery ranges from jagged peaks seen from winding mountain passes down to verdant paddy fields painted every shade of green in the palette, while Vietnam's long history and multicultural population (with over 50 ethnic minority groups) make a trip here rich in heritage.
Outdoor lovers can get their teeth into the countryside within the numerous national parks, where hiking, biking, and kayaking are popular things to do, but Vietnam's most famous natural tourist attraction, the spectacular karst seascape of Halong Bay, is one natural sight that even the more slothful can experience up close on a cruise.
While the rural areas brim with lush panoramas, the big cities buzz with contemporary life and provide ample opportunities to get stuck into Vietnam's tasty culinary highlights.
This fascinating country is full of surprises and is one of Southeast Asia's most underrated destinations. Plan your sightseeing with our list of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
1. Halong Bay
2. ho chi minh city, 4. phong nha-ke bang national park, 7. sapa countryside, 9. nha trang, 10. cu chi tunnels, 11. ba be national park, 12. mekong delta, 13. cat ba island, 14. ha giang, 15. phu quoc island, 16. con dao islands, frequently asked questions, when is the best time to visit vietnam.
The karst seascape of Halong Bay is one of the best places to visit in the world for spellbinding sea views and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Thousands of limestone islands sit within this bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, eroded into jagged pinnacles by wind and water action over millennia.
With the bay's scenery best seen by boat, this is prime cruising territory. Opt for at least an overnight tour to see Halong Bay's iconic views as a day trip doesn't do it justice.
There are plenty of caves in the bay that can be entered including the Hang Sung Sot, with three mammoth caverns, and the Hang Dao Go, with superbly weird stalagmites and stalactites. For most people though, the highlight is simply cruising amid the karsts and soaking up the changing scenery of pinnacles as you pass by.
There are plenty of different cruise tours to choose from. Check the different itineraries offered before booking as many travelers have left Halong Bay underwhelmed by their cruise.
Author's Tip: If possible, book a tour that takes in neighboring Lan Ha Bay as well as Halong Bay. The karst scenery is just as dramatic here but fewer cruise trips visit. And check if your cruise offers included activities such as guided kayaking (which allows you to experience an up-close view of the scenery).
For big city fans, no visit to Vietnam is really complete without a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, the buzzing commercial hub of the country.
The streets are an insane clog of motorbikes and cars, the restaurant and café scene is incredibly cosmopolitan, and the shopping is the best in the country.
At its center is Dong Khoi, a relatively small and easily navigable central district, which holds most of the city's sights.
Here, you'll find the HCMC Museum, with a brilliant collection of artifacts that weaves together the story of the city, and the grand Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 19th century.
Check out the old district of Da Kao nearby for some of the best surviving examples of the city's French colonial architecture and also to visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda with its dazzling array of Buddhist and Taoist religious iconography.
Afterwards, the History Museum is a must-do for history fans with stacks of relics on display from various archaeological sites.
For many visitors, the two big-hitter tourist attractions not to miss are just a little out of the center, along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. The Reunification Palace, then known as Independence Palace, was the residence for South Vietnam's president. It's chiefly famous as the spot where North Vietnam's tanks stopped on 30 April 1975, officially ending the war. It's a completely fascinating place to visit complete with 1960s furnishings still in situ.
Nearby is the War Remnants Museum, which although very obviously biased, paints a disturbing picture of the brutality of war and the many atrocities committed by US Forces during their Vietnam campaign.
One of Vietnam's most historic towns, Hue is packed to the brim with relics from the reign of the 19th-century Nguyen emperors.
Sitting along the banks of the gorgeous Perfume River, the Imperial Enclosure is a huge site set within walls that sprawl for 2.5 kilometers.
While touring the grounds check out the gorgeous Ngo Mon Gate, the Thai Hoa Palace with its finely lacquered interior detailing, the Dien Tho Residence where the Queen Mothers would live, and the Halls of Mandarins with its preserved ceiling murals.
A dazzling number of historic sites lie outside the Imperial Enclosure walls as well.
One of the nicest ways of visiting a collection of outlying sites is by taking a riverboat cruise on the Perfume River. A day cruise can take you to visit several royal tombs along with some pagodas.
If you're short on time, the best tomb to visit is the Tomb of Tu Doc and the most important pagoda in the area is the Thien Mu Pagoda, with its tower that soars for 21 meters high.
One of the best places to visit in Vietnam for caving, World Heritage-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a dramatic karst mountain formation honeycombed with huge caverns, which are home to superb stalactite and stalagmite displays.
It's best known for its caving activities , which range from multi-day hiking and caving tours for the more adventurous, to simpler half-day trips to caves with easy access provided by boat trips and modern boardwalks, but the national park also offers mountain biking and trekking activities.
The most popular destinations within the park are the Paradise Cave , which extends for a staggering 31 kilometers below ground, and the Phong Nha Cave, where the interior is accessed by boat. Half-day tours can be easily arranged once you're in the area.
The national park's most renowned caverns though are Son Doong Cave (the world's largest cave) , and the Tu Lan Cave with its cavern river system. Access to these, and to certain other caves in the park are restricted to organized tours (ranging from one-day to multi-day expeditions) which are all run by Phong Nha's expert adventure tour company Oxalis . It's well worth booking in advance to secure your spot.
To make the most of your time here, time your visit for outside the rainy season, which runs from October to December, when many of the national park's caves are closed to the public.
You can access Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park from Son Trach (also known as Phong Nha village).
Surrounded by lush jungle-covered mountains, My Son is a ruined Cham era temple city that dates from the 4th century.
This old Hindu religious center was still very much in use during the 7th to 10th centuries and only fell into complete decline and abandonment during the 13th century.
There are around 20 temple structures still standing here, all built of brick or sandstone blocks and showing interesting influences from various Asian empires, including Indian and Malay.
Note that the temples of Group B are the oldest, while Group A once contained the site's most important monument but was destroyed deliberately by US forces during the Vietnam War.
A good museum on-site houses plenty of information on the Cham.
Access to My Son is from Hoi An.
Beautiful Hoi An is the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, with bags of surviving historic architecture.
The old town quarter is a joy to explore, packed to the brim with well-preserved merchant houses that hark back to Hoi An's trading center heyday of the 15th century, when the town was a major meeting point for Japanese and Chinese merchants who flocked here for the local silks.
Plenty of the old merchant houses have been opened to the public, so you can get a taste of these times. The best is 17th-century Tan Ky House, with fascinating architectural and decorative elements.
Hoi An's major symbol is the delightful Japanese Bridge at the western end of Tran Phu Street, while nearby, the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is the old town's most highly decorated temple.
There are numerous small pagodas and museums dotted about town, but Hoi An's true charm is found in simply rambling the old town streets admiring the well-preserved facades.
The verdant rice field countryside surrounding Sapa, bordered by the jagged peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountains (often still known by their French colonial era name of the Tonkinese Alps), are home to Vietnam's most beautiful rural vistas.
The deep valleys here are home to a diverse mix of the country's ethnic minorities, including the Hmong, Giay, and Red Dzao people, while the rippling hills are terraced with rice fields and overlooked by the country's tallest peak, Fansipan Mountain.
This is the top trekking destination in Vietnam with oodles of options to trek or day hike between tiny villages and experience the staggering mountain views.
Sapa itself is the main base here - an old hill station and now a bustling and forever growing tourist center that is a stark contrast to the sumptuous tranquil countryside right on its doorstep.
Author's Tip: Keen trekkers looking for more of northern Vietnam's lush mountain vistas may want to skip the busy Sapa scene completely and nudge further 95 kilometers northwest to Bac Ha , where the terraced hill views on hikes between hill villages are just as beautiful. Bac Ha's Sunday market is also a very popular day trip from Sapa.
Vietnam's capital is the frenetic heartbeat of the nation and a place that befuddles travelers as much as it charms them.
The motorbike frenzy, pollution, and constant clamor of street vendors can get too much for some travelers, but if you want to dive into Vietnamese city life, Hanoi is the place to do it.
The old town quarter has plenty of dilapidated charm on offer, while history fans should make a beeline here simply to see the bundle of excellent museums.
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vietnam Fine Art Museum are both brilliant introductions to the diverse artistry of the country, while the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important tribute to the founder of modern Vietnam.
Author's Tip: It's well worth adding extra time into your itinerary to use Hanoi as a base for exploring the many sights within day tripping distance. In particular, the Tay Phuong and Thay Pagodas (30 kilometers west from the central city), Co Loa Citadel (24 kilometers northeast), and the Huong Pagoda (also known as the Perfume Pagoda; 60 kilometers southwest).
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hanoi
For sandy fun in Vietnam, Nha Trang is king. The well-maintained beach trundles for six kilometers along the shoreline of central Nha Trang city and during summer is jam-packed with local families on vacation, as well as foreign visitors.
There is excellent swimming here with designated swimming areas and manicured lounging areas that make this a great option for relaxing days soaking up the sun and sand.
If you do get bored of sunbathing, the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers are just to the north across the Xom Bong Bridge and have been used as a place of worship here since at least the 7th century (with some historians saying the site itself has been a place of active worship since much earlier).
There is also an excellent museum dedicated to the work of Alexandre Yersin who discovered the cause of the bubonic plague and founded Nha Trang's Pasteur Institute (which still carries out vaccination programs in Vietnam today).
An absolutely fascinating experience for all travelers, not just those interested in Vietnam's modern military history, the Cu Chi Tunnels are an extensive tunnel network that during the war, stretched for more than 250 kilometers, allowing VC troops to operate and communicate in the area surrounding Ho Chi Minh City.
Two short sections of the network can be visited with a guide who'll take you down into the narrow unlit confines, which definitely are not for claustrophobia sufferers.
You will literally be crawling on your hands and knees and some points. You can access the tunnels at either Ben Dinh village (the more popular choice) or Ben Duoc village.
Tranquil Ba Be National Park is absolutely stunning with the three interlinked Ba Be Lakes at its heart, rimmed by jagged karst peaks and thickly forested slopes.
Most visitors come here to take peaceful boat trips or kayak on the lake and explore the caves full of stalactites and stalagmites in the vicinity, but for the more active, there's also excellent hiking and trekking in the hills here between ethnic minority villages.
This is one of the most peaceful spots in Vietnam, and travelers who spend the night here sleep in traditional stilt-house homestay accommodation along the lakeshore, allowing an experience of simple rural life.
The far south of Vietnam is where the mighty Mekong River finally finds its way to the sea in a maze of waterways that crisscross the floodplain.
Incredibly lush, with paddy field vistas and mangroves, and full of local life, with chaotic floating markets to explore by boat, the delta is one of the most interesting regions for travelers to discover.
Can Tho is the most popular town to use as a base, as it's close to the floating markets of Phong Dien and Cai Rang, while boat trips from Ca Mau allow you to explore the U Minh Mangrove Forest and Cau Mau Nature Reserve.
This area of Vietnam is one of the best to visit for keen bird watchers and nature lovers , as it is home to both Tra Su Bird Sanctuary Forest and Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary.
One of Vietnam's major centers for activities and adventure travel attractions, Cat Ba Island sits on the western edge of Halong Bay.
This is the best place to visit if you want to organize cruises and kayaking trips in Lan Ha Bay, which lies off Cat Ba's southern coast. Lan Ha Bay is a less visited seascape of karst islets and outcrops that makes for a quieter alternative to Halong Bay.
Off the water, much of Cat Ba's dense jungle interior is part of Cat Ba National Park, where hikers can spot plentiful birdlife, as well as animals such as macaques.
For many visitors, though, Cat Ba is all about climbing opportunities. Climbing excursions here utilize both the island's limestone cliffs and Lan Ha Bay's outcrops, providing experiences to suit both complete climbing beginners and experienced climbers.
The emerald-green karst mountain landscapes along Ha Giang's mountain passes make this far-north province prime territory for scenic road-tripping by either motorbike or car.
In particular, the twisty Quan Ba Pass between Ha Giang town and Tam Son provides panoramic vistas of the karst plateau and its jagged limestone outcrops, while the zigzagging Mai Pi Leng Pass between Dong Van and Meo Vac offers dizzying views of the lush mountain scenery and narrow valleys below.
Time your visit to coincide with one of the area's market days, when traders from the surrounding mountain villages pile into town. Dong Van's Sunday market is one of the best.
Sitting 45 kilometers off the southern coast of the country, in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is a densely forested island, speckled by sweeps of white-sand beach that attract plenty of sunseekers during the winter dry season.
Dry season (November to May) is also when the island's underwater and on-the-water tourism attractions spring into action, with plenty of dive sites in the waters just offshore, as well as opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, and boat trips.
Many of the main boat excursions head to the An Thoi Islands, just to the south of Phu Quoc, which is home to the best snorkeling in the area.
Off the water, the Phu Quoc cable-car provides bird's-eye views for eight kilometers, soaring over the seascape and islands, all the way from Phu Quoc to the island of Hon Thom in the An Thoi Islands.
Phu Quac is accessed by plane or regular ferries from the mainland towns of Rach Gia and Ha Tien. As Ha Tien lies very close to the southern border crossing with Cambodia, the island is a popular first (or last) stop-off in Vietnam for overland travelers.
This remote island group lies around 160 kilometers offshore in the South China Sea and is renowned among divers as one of the best places to visit in the country, both for the variety of sea life and for the coral reefs.
Much of the Con Dao Islands, and the surrounding water, is a protected wilderness area, with the island shores home to nesting turtles, and dense forest still covering the island interiors.
The main island, and prime base for visitors with all the accommodation and things to do, is Con Son Island, which has sweeps of sand strung out across its coast that attract beachgoers looking for a relaxed sun-soaked getaway, as well as divers.
Even if you're here mostly for the beach, make sure to explore the historic sites of Con Son Town (the island's only settlement) including Phu Hai Prison, Bao Tang Con Dao Museum, and the prison known as the Tiger Cages, which document the dark history of this isolated island group.
Con Son's remote position led to the island being used to incarcerate political prisoners during the era Vietnam was occupied by French colonial forces, and later by both the South Vietnamese government and the occupying American forces.
Preserved sites including Phu Hai Prison and the prison cages used by the US forces, known as the Tiger Cages, along with Con Son Town's Bao Tang Con Dao Museum, do an excellent job of documenting this history for visitors.
Access to Con Son Island is either by flight from Ho Chi Minh City or by ferry from the coastal city of Vung Tau.
Once a sleepy coastal fishing town, Mui Né has developed into a beautiful beach resort town and a prime destination for windsurfing, sailing, and kitesurfing.
Compared to other beach destinations in Vietnam , however, Mui Né remains relatively unknown - and this means pristine beaches and a quiet retreat for most of the year.
One of Mui Né's most unique attractions is the natural Red Sand Dunes just outside town, where visitors can practice sand-sledding or rent dune buggies for a more adrenaline-charged experience.
Tucked away between nearby fishing villages and towering orange limestone formations, there's the fairy stream, a slow-moving warm stream that almost feels like a walkway because it's so shallow - follow it to the end to reach a waterfall.
For those wishing to explore beyond the coastline, there are also the ruins of the Po Shanu Cham Towers - remnants of the Cham Empire that dominated the area many centuries ago.
Vietnam experiences strong monsoon seasons, where heavy rains hit the cities and the countryside, often causing floods and mudslides. If you're planning to travel around, the best time to visit Vietnam is during the dry season, which lasts from December to February – but there are some exceptions.
The south of Vietnam – where Ho Chi Minh city is located – experiences a more tropical climate, with high temperatures and high humidity year-round. Visiting these areas in the cooler months means less humidity and temperatures in the high 20s rather than the high 30s and 40s, which makes it more comfortable to walk around.
In the north, however, many areas experience an actual winter. Hanoi sees temperatures in the mid- to high teens in December and January – and in the mountains of Sapa in the north, you'll even get to see some snow during these months.
If you're visiting Danang for some beach time or to travel through the ancient town of Hoi An, it's best to arrive between February and May, when water and air temperature are in the 20s – perfect beach weather for enjoying the sand or a dip in the water. The rainy season, and especially the months of September and October, see very heavy rains and often very strong wind storms on the coast, so it's better to stay away from Danang during this time.
More on Vietnam
Top 10 best places to visit in Vietnam
Aug 8, 2023 • 8 min read
Experience the best of Vietnam with these top places to visit © hadynyah / Getty Images
Once war-torn, now sublime, Vietnam is long, lovely and languorous.
If you start in the north at the Chinese border, you’ll take in 1650km (1025 miles) of emerald landscapes, gilded beaches and engrossing cities before you reach Vietnam’s southern limits at the mouth of the Mekong River.
That’s a lot of country to take in on one vacation, so it pays to plan your trip around the places you absolutely can’t miss. The stops on your list may influence whether you fly into cultured Hanoi in the north or energetic Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in the south, or whether you bypass these two megacities for the laid-back beaches of tropical Phu Quoc.
Here’s our selection of Vietnam’s highlights, from fast-paced cities to beautiful beaches and misty mountains that feel like the edge of the known world.
1. Phu Quoc
Best for beach lovers
About as far south as you can get from Hanoi without splashing into the Gulf of Thailand, the island of Phu Quoc is where beach worshippers come to pray. Lapped by jewel-blue waters and edged by fine sandy beaches, this is a place to slip into low gear, reaching for a cocktail as the ember-colored sun dips into the bay. But it’s far from undiscovered – local tourists come in droves for theme park thrills at VinWonders and giddying views over the sea from the world’s longest over-sea cable car. Phu Quoc is a popular stop for families, and if you fancy a change from the tourist scene, there are dense jungles to explore inland from the sand.
Planning tip: If you’re bound for Phu Quoc, there’s no need to go via Hanoi and HCMC; numerous Asian airlines offer flights from hubs such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, connecting with long-haul flights further afield.
Best for city slickers
Every trip has to start somewhere, and the ideal point of arrival for first timers is Vietnam ’s historic capital. As well as easy infrastructure, inexpensive accommodation, world-class dining and more history than you’ll ever have time to take in, Hanoi is the leaping-off point for the islands and outcrops around Halong Bay and the forest-draped trails of the mountainous northwest. Give yourself time to graze through Vietnam’s catalog of street food treats , and pause to soak up the atmosphere in cozy cafes in the Old Quarter as well as rush around the sights.
Planning tip: To enjoy Hanoi nightlife on a budget, swing by the streetside bia hoi (draft beer) stalls at busy Bia Hoi Junction on the drinking strip of P Ta Hein.
3. Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay
Best for iconic photos
The crowds mob Halong Bay but for our money, the shimmering bays to the north and south have a slight edge over Vietnam’s most famous collection of outcrops and islands. While trips to Halong Bay are highly commercialized, with motorized luxury junks blowing diesel fumes around the eroded karst islands, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay are a bit more laid-back, and you won’t have quite so many cruise ships in your photos. Try kayaking between the outcrops, explore the tropical trails on Cat Ba Island – gateway to Lan Ha Bay – or kick back on the sand on Bai Tu Long’s idyllic Co To Island.
Planning tip: If you visit Cat Ba Island, take time to explore the trails around Cat Ba National Park – if you trek with your own guide, it’s easy to leave the crowds behind.
4. Ho Chi Minh City
Best for a sense of the past
Cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the southern counterweight to Hanoi in the north, taking its cultural cues from the Mekong Delta and neighboring Cambodia . It’s fast-paced, frenetic and fun, particularly after dark, when the pavements transform into a mobile buffet of street food stalls and roadside bars. A little of the frontier feel of the war years lives on in HCMC, and you’ll get a humbling introduction to this troubled time at sites such as the War Remnants Museum . The ghosts of French Indochina linger too – set aside some time to wander past the city’s colonial-era landmarks, then settle into a coffee shop with a drip-brewed ca phi and consider how far Vietnam has come since the end of French rule.
Planning tip: For a break from the city crush, swing out to nearby Tay Ninh, where the Cao Dai Holy See offers a fascinating introduction to the all-embracing Cao Dai religion.
5. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Best for unique experiences
Vietnam’s biggest natural attraction – literally – is Hang Son Doong cave, the largest cavern in the world by volume and a true wonder. An entire New York City block could fit inside its vast main passage, but this monster cavern is only accessible on expensive guided treks. The good news is that surrounding Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is pockmarked with caverns that you can clamber, crawl, boat or zipline through for a fraction of the cost. Trips to the Tu Lan, Phong Nha and Paradise caves are possible on a shoestring budget; more cash will buy access to Hang En, where trekkers set up tents on a subterranean beach, illuminated by shafts of natural light.
Best for history
A stay in harmonious Hoi An is a journey into Vietnam’s lavish, layered past. This was once one of the most important ports in Asia, and traders from as far afield as Japan, Spain and North America filled the pockets of its merchants with gold. Locals used their money wisely, packing the Old Town with teetering shophouses, tea warehouses, fanciful covered bridges, elaborate Chinese guildhalls, and colorful Confucian and Buddhist pagodas. History is only the beginning – many travelers stay for days, learning to make white rose dumplings and summer rolls on chef-led cooking courses, and ordering made-to-measure suits and gowns from the city’s modestly priced tailors’ shops.
Planning tip: For a change of pace, head inland from Hoi An and spend a night in a friendly community homestay in the Co Tu minority village of Bho Hoong.
7. The Central Beaches
Best for sun-seekers
Sandy bays stud Vietnam’s central coastline, but the mood varies widely from beach to beach. Package tourists flock to high-rise Danang and Nha Trang – famed as military R&R stops during the American War – but we rate the calmer beaches along the coast, where a little of Vietnam’s old seaside charm still endures. To the south of Nha Trang, Mui Ne is a lively kitesurfing hub following a string of sandy coves, while Doc Let Beach to the north serves up 18km (11 miles) of sand, surf and seafood. For a quieter experience, hit the coast between Hue and Danang – Thuan An is the gateway to a string of serene and sandy beaches flanking a lagoon-backed barrier island.
Best for imperial history
The former capital of the Nguyen dynasty – which ruled over large parts of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 19th and 20th centuries – drips with imperial history, despite the ravages of US bombers during the American War. Much was lost in Hue , but the grandeur of dynastic Vietnam lives on in the Citadel and Imperial Enclosure , housing the emperor’s residence, temples, palaces and court. At one time, entering without permission would bring instant death. Just outside town are the tombs of Vietnam’s greatest emperors, resting serenely in green compounds beside the Perfume River. Another relic of royal rule is Hue’s imperial cuisine – arguably the finest in the country – try a spicy bowl of bun bo Hue (vermicelli noodle soup) or a crispy banh khoai pancake and you’ll see what we mean.
Planning tip: To stay one step ahead of the crowds at Hue’s imperial tombs, rent a motorcycle or scooter to explore; don’t miss the Thien Mu Pagoda on your way out of the city.
9. Ba Be National Park
Best for lake and forest scenery
Vietnam has more than 30 national parks , taking in everything from coastal swamps to mountain jungles, but some are firmly on the tourist trail and the crowds can be an impediment to spotting wildlife. That’s less of a problem in lovely Ba Be National Park , where trails weave between the limestone peaks to Hmong, Tay and Dzao villages, and boat and kayak trips cross serene lakes hemmed in by forested ridges, creating scenes worthy of a medieval woodcut. The park is a haven for everything from macaques and langur monkeys to rare black bears, scaly pangolins and the spectacular crested serpent eagle.
Planning tip: Comfy accommodation in village homes completes the sense of stepping off the mainstream tourist circuit. For an intimate homestay experience, check out the family-run guesthouses in Pac Ngoi village, accessible by bus from Hanoi, via the village of Cho Don.
10. Ha Giang
Best for mountain views
Trekking to the minority villages in the hills around Sapa is one of Vietnam’s top draws, but the country’s trekking capital feels rather commercialized these days. Hikers have to walk further every year to find the rural idyll that first drew people to the northwest. For scenic countryside without the company, remote Ha Giang province is Vietnam’s new frontier. Staying in simple village homestays, you can hike out to minority villages and rice terraces tucked between the soaring limestone peaks, and motor (or pedal) over some of Vietnam’s most spectacular passes. You'll want to take plenty of photos on the winding mountain road between Ha Giang town, Dong Van and Meo Vac.
Planning tip: If you’re confident in the saddle, motorcycles can easily be rented in Ha Giang town – just ride slowly and be ready for rainy conditions!
This article was first published April 2021 and updated August 2023
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Tours & Top Tens
17 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
Last updated on November 3, 2023 by Kay Pierce, Becky Griswold and Spencer Leasca - 11 Comments
A long, narrow country squeezed in between the South China Sea and the Laos and Cambodia borders, Vietnam is a land of striking landscapes that range from the lush rice terraces and forested mountains in the north to the picturesque valleys of the Central Highlands and the fertile delta and beautiful beaches of the south.
Vietnam has seen its fair share of struggles. Ruled for almost a thousand years by various Chinese dynasties until 938 AD, Vietnam became a French protectorate in the 19th century. After independence, there was the Vietnam War.
Today, Vietnam is a proud country and you can see why. Not just for fiercely defending its own independence, but for its incredible landscapes and history.
The first words on everyone’s lips when speaking of Vietnam are undoubtedly Halong Bay, a beautiful set of karst islands and formations off the northern coast. Hanoi is the bustling, motorbike filled capital. Plan your trip to this beautiful Southeast Asia travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
In this post, we'll cover:
17. Da Nang
Nestled on the central coast of Vietnam, Da Nang is an energetic coastal city with a historic French colonial port.
It is known primarily for its fantastic beaches, including the famous My Khe Beach , which Tripadvisor has named as one of the best beaches in Asia.
However, it is also a popular starting point for exploration of the Bà Nà hills , which lie on the city’s western reaches. From there, the spectacular Hải Vân Pass showcases incredible views of Da Nang Bay. Moreover it conveys the Marble Mountains , five imperious limestone outcrops crowned with ornate pagodas and yield caves containing lavish Buddhist shrines.
Da Nang boasts impressive landmarks like the iconic Dragon Bridge , world-class golf courses, and a modern skyline dotted with luxury resorts and upscale shopping centres.
The city is also home to many cultural experiences, including the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture and Da Nang Fine Arts Museum.
16. Ha Giang Loop
If you pride yourself on being an adventurous traveler, then you should embrace the Ha Giang Loop with open arms.
Located in the remote and breathtaking Ha Giang province , tourists can embark on a thrilling motorbike journey through some of the country’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. This scenic loop takes you on a winding road that cuts through majestic mountains, lush valleys and terraced rice fields.
The journey provides an immersive experience, allowing you to connect with the authentic culture of the ethnic minority communities that call this region home.
Along the way, you’ll encounter traditional villages , where locals showcase their rich heritage, colorful attire, and warm hospitality.
The loop offers stunning viewpoints such as Ma Pi Leng Pass , with its jaw-dropping vistas of the Nho Que River snaking through the mountains. You can also visit attractions like Dong Van Karst Plateau, a UNESCO Geopark, and the fairy-tale-like Lung Cu Flag Tower.
Typically, this journey takes three to four days to complete. Its rugged beauty and remote nature are perfect for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience.
15. Bai Tu Long Bay
If you can’t get to or don’t fancy visiting Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is an excellent alternative. Situated in the northeastern part of Vietnam, it has all the pristine beauty and untouched landscapes of its more illustrious neighbor, only with greater tranquillity and fewer crowds.
The picturesque bay is characterized by its emerald waters, towering limestone islands , and lush vegetation. Cruising through it provides fabulous opportunities for kayaking , swimming and visiting remote fishing villages.
The bay is also home to a diverse ecosystem accommodating rare wildlife, colourful coral reefs and hidden caves waiting for you to discover them.
A tour of the area allows for a more intimate connection with nature and a chance to experience the serenity of the surroundings. Whilst there, be sure to visit the incredible Thien Canh Son Cave . One of 59 discovered caves in the area, it will wow you with its unique stalactite formations.
14. Tam Coc
Tam Coc, often called ‘ Halong Bay on land ‘, is an enchanting destination in the Ninh Binh province.
Forming part of the UNESCO World Heritage Tràng An scenic landscape site, it is renowned for its dramatic limestone karsts that dramatically rise out of emerald green rice fields. Tam Coc presents visitors with a stunning natural landscape that will forever leave an impression on their heart.
The main attraction in Tam Coc is a scenic boat ride along the Ngo Dong River , where local rowers skilfully navigate through a series of caves and limestone formations. As you glide along the tranquil waterways, you’ll be mesmerized by the picturesque scenery and the harmonious blend of nature and verdant rice paddies.
Tam Coc is also home to ancient temples and pagodas, such as Bich Dong Pagoda , which is perched atop a hill and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
If you are into cycling, you can also explore the area in more detail on two wheels.
There are several places in Vietnam where you can go for some beach R&R, but few can compare to the sheer beauty of Mũi Né.
A stunning beach resort town along the southeast coastline, it boasts a long stretch of golden palm-tree-lined sand, perfect for walking and sunbathing. During the dry season, with steady wind conditions, the area becomes a fantastic destination for sailing, kitesurfing and windsurfing.
The highlight of Mui Né is undoubtedly its captivating sand dunes . The iconic White Sand Dunes and Red Sand Dunes offer a surreal landscape that resembles a desert oasis. On our last visit, we explored the dunes on an ATV ride and sand boarded down the slopes. Both were a lot of fun!
Beyond the beaches and dunes, Mui Né offers opportunities to explore nearby fishing villages , taste delicious seafood, and indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments. Close by, The Fairy Stream, with its gently flowing water and unique rock formations, is a popular spot for a refreshing dip on a stiflingly hot day.
Year-round cool weather and idyllic scenery of misty valleys, lush pine trees and colorful flowers are some of the reasons that Dalat was once used by Vietnamese emperors and French colonials as a summer retreat. Today, this charming town in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam is a popular destination for honeymooners, weekend getaways and for those looking for relief from the heat.
A walkable city, Dalat is a beautiful scene of French colonial architecture and villas set amid picturesque landscapes. The city is well known for its royal palaces that were owned by the last emperor of Vietnam. These lovely palaces are open for tours as is the Hang Nga Guesthouse, the city’s most bizarre attraction. Informally called the “Crazy House,” this structure is a fantastical construction with caves, spider webs and shapes of animals and mushrooms.
Dalat’s lively market is a great place to find fruits, flowers and vegetables grown in the local area as well as handicrafts and silk embroidered items.
Outside the city are scenic lakes, flower gardens, plantations and mountains offering pretty waterfalls and trails for hiking and mountain biking. A must-do is the Valley of Love, an incredibly beautiful valley with pine forests and lakes where tourists can enjoy pedal-boating and canyoning.
Located on the central coast of Vietnam near the Duy Phú village is the important archaeological site known as My Son. One of Southeast Asia’s most notable heritage sites, My Son was once a significant center of religious Hindu ceremonies where the kings of the Champa Kingdom built numerous temples devoted to the worship of the god, Shiva, between the 4th and 14th centuries.
Believed to have once contained more than 70 temples that were constructed with brick and decorative carvings and sculptures bearing scenes of animals, priests, gods, mythical battles and inscriptions of Sanskrit and Champa, My Son today features a complex of ruins in varying states of disarray and repair, all arranged in several groups.
Within the site is a museum where visitors can check out exhibits and artifacts to better understand and appreciate the ruins. Near the entrance of My Son are a few cafes, food vendors and a shop selling souvenirs. At certain times of the day, visitors can watch live Champa dance performances. Additionally, the site is surrounded by jungle, hills and a lake where visitors can enjoy hiking and kayaking.
My Son is often reached by organized tour groups from Hoi An. However, visitors can also arrive at My Son by motorbike rentals.
10. Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc is a scenic island in the Gulf of Thailand. While it officially forms part of Vietnam, it is actually closer geographically to Cambodia . Today, it’s characterized by dense tropical jungle, soft sandy beaches, and undulating hills. But the island has a fascinating history, having served first as a French missionary base and then as a French colonial wartime prison – a gloomy reformatory that you can visit today.
History aside, the island is most tempting for its alluring tropical nature . Days in Phu Quoc are spent sunbathing on sandy beaches, scootering around fishing villages, visiting pearl and pepper farms, and, if you’re up for it, trekking to waterfalls.
An island that’s famous for its seafood, don’t miss an opportunity to try out Phu Quoc’s famous fish sauce (nuoc mam) – you can even visit one of the fish sauce factories while you’re here!
9. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Tucked away in the Quang Binh Province in Vietnam’s Central Coast region, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of the most picturesque parts of the country. With a steadfast reputation as a filming location for 2017 Kong: Skull Island, and with a nearby international airport, the national park is more popular than ever before.
Opened to the public in 2010, the appeal of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the escape from the city. Here, you’ll live life in the slow lane as you cycle through Kong jungles at your own pace.
Home to 400 million-year-old karst mountains, there are hundreds of caves and secretive rivers to explore. The Son Doong Cave is a must visit. Home to its very own hidden jungle, microclimate, and Underground River, it’s one of the largest caves on Earth .
Due to its location near the Laos border, access to the park is strictly controlled, and visitors can expect to find a strong military presence here. This is mainly due to its war history – the park has some of the world’s highest numbers of undetonated bombs, which is why visitors can only visit this place with a licensed tour guide.
8. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon , is the biggest city in all of Vietnam. It’s also the old capital of the Republic of Vietnam. When Saigon fell to the north in 1975, it was renamed to HCMC, yet its former name is still used today, particularly when describing the beating heart of the city.
Hoi Chi Minh has a bit of everything – temples, museums, parks, and tourist shopping. Whatever your interests, you’ll find something to do here. Head to the top of the Saigon Skydeck for an astonishing 360-degree view of the city – especially impressive at night when the lights twinkle on below.
History buffs should not miss the chance to explore the mysterious network of the Cu Chi tunnels , the headquarters for many military operations during the Vietnam War.
The five stories of Reunification Palace – also known as the Independence Palace – is also a fascinating place to go. It’s a famous spot in Vietnam’s history as it captures the time when Saigon fell as a tank broke through the gates of the palace. A replica of this same tank can be seen on the grass outside the palace.
If you’re curious to learn more about the war, you’ll enjoy a visit to the War Remnants Museum or the Museum of Vietnamese History.
7. Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta, nicknamed the ‘Rice Bowl of Vietnam,’ is a lush network of waterways in Vietnam known for its excellent nutrient-rich soils and diverse ecosystems – the banks are a veritable patchwork of fruit, vegetables, rice plantations and cattle farms that provide sustenance for more than a third of the country.
This impressive stretch of river frontage is the most biodiverse in the world if you don’t count the Amazon. Taking up much of the south of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is an extraordinary place filled with lily pad waterways, rice paddies, mangroves, and enchanting wildlife.
With plenty of bus connections and motorbikes, tourists can explore the Mekong Delta and its towns like Tra Vinh , which is considered one of the prettiest villages of the delta. A boat trip down the tranquil tributaries and mangroves of the Mekong is an unforgettable experience.
Paddled by a local in a wooden canoe, you’ll be able to witness everyday life on the river, passing farmlands, fruit orchards, monkey bridges, water buffalo, and floating markets . The best time to visit the Mekong is during the dry season between December and May when there’s less chance of flooding.
6. Nha Trang
If it’s beaching you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. Nha Trang is the most famous seaside resort in Vietnam, with a laidback atmosphere and exceptional scuba diving. While it’s certainly not on the same scale as many of Asia’s other beautiful beaches , Nha Trang offers warm water and some picturesque offshore islets.
The promenade that encircles the beachfront is always a hive of activity, filled with parks and sculptures that make a stroll here interesting. As with most beach resorts, most of the activity gets going when the sun goes down, and Nha Trang is no different. You’ll find a host of vibey bars and restaurants near the beachfront.
There’s much more to Nha Trang than sunbathing and strolls, though. Go for a soak in the Thap Ba Mud Bath or take a ride on the longest cross-sea cable car in the world. The sacred Po Nagar Cham towers, dating back to the 7th to 12th centuries, offer a taste of the city’s history – they’re an active religious site for Cham, Chinese, and Buddhists even today.
Tracing the border with China, Sapa is a captivating remote town in the Hoang Lien Son mountains of northern Vietnam. Its elevation 1,500 meters above sea level is nothing to scoff at when you’re trekking the terraced hills and slopes around this high-altitude mountain town. While there’s plenty of natural beauty to tempt you to this far-reached corner of the country, much of Sapa’s appeal lies in its raw and authentic culture.
Days are spent trekking through rice paddies , rural villages untouched by tourism, and the clouds of Fansipan – Vietnam’s highest peak.
Scenery aside, the highlight is hands down the opportunity to chat with these fascinating people along the way – local kids will tag along and try to sell you some of their handmade jewelry or simply try to improve their English by speaking to you.
In the town of Sapa itself, there are attractive French colonial sites worth visiting such as the Gothic church, the town square and city hall. Sapa is a major market town where the various ethnic tribes in the area often gather to sell their handicrafts, which make excellent souvenirs. At the Sapa Culture Museum, visitors can learn all about the history and cultures of these ethnic groups.
Hue – formerly known as the Panduranga of Cham Kingdom – was once the imperial capital of Vietnam. Located in the central region, Hue had a huge role to play in the Vietnam War. Captured by the Viet Cong for a total of 24 days, thousands of people were killed here if they were thought to be sympathizers of the south.
Today, the city is split in two by the Perfume River. The old city with its ancient ruined citadel lies to the north and the modern-day city to the south. The Demilitarized Zone, which marks the official former border, is one of the most popular day trips from Hue while the Thien Mu Pagoda is the city’s official symbol.
Of the city’s monuments , the Citadel is the most famous. Once the seat of the Nguyen emperors, the Citadel is a sprawling complex of grand palaces, ornate temples, walls and gates. Prime attractions within the Citadel are the Forbidden Purple City, Thai Hoa Palace, and the Ngo Mon Gate. Another important landmark on the river is the city’s official symbol, the Thien Mu Pagoda.
A stroll along the promenade is also recommended, through the statue-abundant parks and onwards by scooter or boat cruise to the Tombs of the Emperors on the outskirts of the city. Dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, the Tomb of Tu Doc, with its striking Buddhist architecture is the cherry on top.
Laidback and charismatic with a charm all of its own, Hoi An is the highlight of any Vietnam itinerary. Located south of Da Nang within cycling distance of some excellent warm-water beaches along the central coast, this atmospheric old town is a feast of color, where bright and cheerful lanterns adorn each and every building.
The narrow, winding lanes of the old town are lined with beautiful historic buildings, Chinese temples and wooden-fronted shops with excellent opportunities for retail therapy. The bustling night market and lantern-lit streets are also great places for shopping and people-watching.
At the same time, you can also take a boat ride along the Thu Bon River or join a cooking class to learn the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine. Wrangle a tempting spa deal, and get a dress or tailored suit handmade for you at one of the town’s many illustrious tailors.
Don’t leave without a visit to the gorgeous Japanese Covered Bridge and the glaze-roofed Chinese merchant houses that date back hundreds of years and house a quarter of the town’s population. There’s plenty to fill your afternoons in Hoi An.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is truly chaotic, but that’s all part of its charm. An interesting mix of French and Sino-Vietnamese influences, it’s one of the most rapidly growing cities in Southeast Asia.
Those visiting this energetic capital should be prepared. It’s a hive of activity at the best of times, utter chaos at the worst – a city where crossing the road could be taking your life into your own hands with cars, motorbikes, and tuk-tuks vying for right of way in a city without road rules.
One of the best places to experience the madness of Hanoi is at Legend’s Corner . The well-located Legend Beer restaurant is the ideal spot to sit with a drink and watch the rush hour insanity just before sunset. You’ll see pedestrians, dogs, cars, tuk-tuks, and scooters all entwined in traffic, yet somehow there are very few accidents.
Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets filled with charming colonial architecture, street vendors, and bustling markets. The best way to explore it is on foot or by cyclo (cycle rickshaw). This will enable you to soak up its atmosphere and discover hidden gems like the ancient Temple of Literature or the vibrant Dong Xuan Market.
See also: Where to Stay in Hanoi
For a change of pace, go for a stroll around the freshwater Hoàn Kiếm Lake in the Old Quarter or soak up more Vietnamese history with a visit to the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum , the final resting place of the Revolutionary leader and Vietnamese President, is a must-see.
1. Ha Long Bay
Located about 130 km (80 miles) east of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, Halong Bay is celebrated for its gorgeous emerald-hue waters, thousands of spectacular limestone karsts, astonishing waterside caves, and beautiful tree-topped islands.
It’s a popular location for adventure – scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing can all be enjoyed in and around Cat Ba National Park . For those who wish to simply relax and enjoy the views, there are numerous Halong Bay cruises to choose from, from basic to top-level luxury.
The thousands of islands scattered about the bay are a real mixture, ranging from isolated landmasses home to free-roaming monkeys and antelope to bigger inhabited islands with some fantastic beaches . Boat cruises are the best way to experience the natural wonder of Ha Long Bay.
With hundreds of boats ranging from traditional Chinese junks to luxury cruisers, boat tours can vary from day trips to multiple-night journeys. These tours often provide meals, nightlife activities and excursion stops where islands, caves and lagoons can be explored. Most boat cruises are arranged either from Hanoi or from ports such as Haiphong, Halong City and Cai Rong.
As with most holidays on the water, Halong Bay is easily affected by the weather. Plan your trip between March and June to get the most out of your visit. June to September is the off-season, so you can usually get some great deals – just be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast as monsoons can really put a dampener on your trip.
Map of Places to Visit in Vietnam
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September 15, 2019 at 1:19 am
I hereby compose a key-word list of outstanding places in Vietnam. Hope it’s helpful for you guys searching.
1. Islands: Côn Đảo ; Phú Quốc ; Lý Sơn, Cam Ranh, Bình Ba, Bình Hưng, Điệp Sơn ,Đảo Yến Hòn Nội, ,Cù lao Chàm , Đảo Nam Du, Hòn ông đảo cá voi, Cát bà.
2. Best beaches on islands Bãi Nhát ( Côn Đảo ), Bãi Suối Nóng ( Côn Đảo ), Hòn Cao ( Côn Đảo ), Bãi Sao ( Phú Quốc ), Bãi Khem ( Phú Quốc ), Bãi ông Lăng ( Phu Quoc ) , Nam Du ( Phu Quoc ), Dao Be ( Ly son ) , Bai Kinh ( Binh Hung), Bai Nom ( Binh Ba ),
3. Coastal Cities : Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Quy Nhon, Vung Tau.
4. Best beaches on coastal cities: Doc Let, Dai Lanh, My Khe, Nha Trang, Ky Co, Bãi Binh Tien, Bãi Cà ná, Bãi bắc beach da nang, quy nhon beach.
5. Best Bays Ha Long Bay, Lang Co bay, Nha Trang bay, Ninh Van bay, Van Phong bay, Cam Ranh bay.
6. Highland cities/town offer great mountain views, trekking activities : Sapa, Da Lat, Ha Giang, Cao bang.
7. Ancient cities/towns : Hoi An, Dong Van, Hue
8. Caves: Phong Nha, Thien duong, Son Doong, Hang En, Hang Sung Sot, Hang Va, He thong hang dong Tu Lan, Tam Coc bich dong
9. Rivers Mekong delta, Sông Ngô Đồng, Tràng An, Sông đáy chùa hương, Sông Son, Sông Nho Quế, Sông Chày.
10. Waterfall Thác Bản Giốc, Thác Voi, Thác Pongour
11. Lakes Hồ Ba bể, Hồ Xuân Hương, Hồ Tuyền Lâm, Hồ Tơ Nưng, Hồ Lắk, Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Hồ Thác Bà, Phá Tam Giang.
12. Lagoons Pha Tam Giang, Đầm Vân Long.
13. National Parks Phong Nha ke bang, Nam Cát Tiên, Bạch Mã, Cúc Phương, Ba Vì, Ba Bể, Tràm Chim Tam Nông, núi chúa.
14. Terraces rice field Mù Căng Chải, Hoàng Su Phì, Tú Lệ , Sapa, Y Tý, Bát Xát, Pù Luông.
Enjoy your traveling trip!
May 1, 2019 at 2:46 am
I like Vietnam. I really do. I love their culture and traditions. Just recently I went on a trip to Vietnam and I absolutely loved it. The people there were so nice and lovely. The wildlife, vegetation and sacred places were amazing too. But I have to say, the most beautiful place that I went to in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. The scene was incredibly stunning! I also stayed in Sapa. It has astonishing views. Especially when you look at it from a distance. It has fog surrounding the buildings, has tall mountains in the background and has brightly coloured buildings. It’s breathtakingly beautiful!
March 3, 2019 at 1:49 am
I am a Vietnamese and according to my experience, there are two places you should visit when you are in Vietnam: Cat Ba Island in the Northeast Vietnam and Phu Quoc Island in the Southeast Vietnam.
March 29, 2018 at 9:26 pm
The market in Can Cau is fabulous.
November 21, 2017 at 10:29 pm
I think these places are amazing to visit but I have a question, how is Vietnam in general? Is it a safe country to visit ??
November 8, 2017 at 8:19 am
I recommend Pu Luong nature reserve, not very far from Hanoi.
September 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm
I really liked Da Nang.
November 23, 2016 at 4:13 am
Great list. I have just spent two months in Vietnam and did most of the places except My Son and Sapa. Will come back for that. Love this country!
July 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm
There are lots of day trip activities from Hoi An– snorkeling or diving at the Cham Islands, early morning cycling trips to the countryside, visiting the My Son archeological ruins. Hoi An also has terrific food, and is a great place to wander around and explore.
June 2, 2015 at 6:46 am
There are at-least 30 incredible places to visit in Vietnam, your list is correct those are about the top places but there are alot more amazing places in Vietnam and no one should stop at just 10
November 7, 2014 at 4:11 am
Great places. You can also put Ninh Binh and Ha Giang.
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Places To Visit in Vietnam
Here are the top 47 tourist places in vietnam, 1. halong bay.
1 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 51 Tourist attractions
Characterised by towering karst limestone pillars and small islets of various shapes and sizes amidst crystal blue waters, Halong Bay's ethereal beauty is a sight to behold. Located in northern Vietnam, it is the most popular tourist spot this side of the country. Halong Bay, where 'Halong' translat...
Best Time: April to September
2 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 83 Tourist attractions
Perched on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and one of the world's most ancient cities. Boasting well-preserved colonial buildings, golden pagodas, unique museums, mouthwatering cuisine, entertainment destinations, and traditional bazaars, Hanoi is a melting pot of French, Chin...
Best Time: October to April
3 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 37 Tourist attractions
One of the oldest cities in Asia, Hoi An is a town in central Vietnam which was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Located south of Danang, Hoi An translates to 'a peaceful meeting place'. It is culturally and historically one of Vietnam's most important towns and also one of the r...
Best Time: February to July
4. Ho Chi Minh City
4 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 84 Tourist attractions
Popularly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam is the largest city and the financial and cultural capital of the country. Ho Chi Minh City is a fast-paced city deeply rooted in its cultural roots whilst quickly having adapted to the demands of urbanisation. Here you will find o...
Best Time: November to April
Vietnam Travel Packages
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Vietnam Package Tour 7 Days - Walk on the Golden Bridge
Best of vietnam tour including halong bay cruise, majestic vietnam holiday trip with halong bay cruise, vietnam itinerary 7 days - experience hoi an, experience the best of vietnam - 11 nights 12 days, vietnam itinerary 5 days - including halong bay cruise, 5. nha trang.
5 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 41 Tourist attractions
Home to some of the most beautiful bays in the world, Nha Trang on the coast of Southern Central Vietnam, is a popular beach resort city. While the fine powdery white crescent beach is a highlight of the shoreline, regular makeovers have produced parks, sculpture gardens, bright promenades and beach...
Best Time: February to April
6. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
6 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
Phong Nha ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its many cave systems, old karst mountains, thick green forests and scintillating underground rivers. There are many spectacular caves in the region, including the most extensive cave network on earth. Spread across 10,000 hec...
Best Time: February to August
7 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 48 Tourist attractions
Da Nang sits prettily on the east coast of Vietnam, right between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Popularly known as the tourist capital of South-Central Vietnam, Da Nang is truly stunning - filled with beaches, museums, evolving nightlife and world-class infrastructure. On the South China Sea coast, wi...
Best Time: February to May
8. Phu Quoc Island
8 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 25 Tourist attractions
Phu Quoc Island is the biggest island in Vietnam and boasts of the most beautiful white sand beaches, surrounded by palm and coconut trees. Located just 45 kilometres from the southern tip of Vietnam and just 4 kilometres from Cambodia, it is the perfect spot for a long weekend getaway. Moreover, yo...
9. Ninh Binh
9 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 9 Tourist attractions
Rich in natural landscapes and a myriad of historical destinations, the city of Ninh Binh and its surrounding regions is a nature lover's dream destination. Capital of its namesake province, it is one of the oldest regions of Vietnam and is regarded as the sister destination of Halong Bay....
Best Time: Throughout the year
10 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 28 Tourist attractions
Da Lat is a refreshing hill station located in the southwestern highlands of Vietnam and is about 6 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City. It is the capital of Lam Dong Province, known as the 'City of Eternal Spring' for its distinctive temperate climate. A far cry from the tropical heat of the...
Best Time: December to March
11 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 34 Tourist attractions
Hue, the former royal capital of the Nguyen empire in central Vietnam, is one of the oldest cities in the country. Set on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue is a primarily a historical city which famously houses the Imperial City (declared a World Heritage Site in 1993) within the Citadel, which ac...
Best Time: January to April
12 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 28 Tourist attractions
Situated atop the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, Sapa is a colonial-era town in northwest Vietnam overlooking the terraced rice fields of Muong Hoa Valley. At an elevation of 1,500 metres, this small market town shares its border with China and offers some of Vietnam's best trekking. Arguably offering th...
Best Time: March to May
13. Ba Be National Park
13 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 5 Tourist attractions
Located at a distance of 240 kilometres from the city of Hanoi, Ba Be National Park is a stunning national reserve blessed with rolling hills, tall limestone karsts and over 550 plant varieties. It is also populated by 353 types of butterflies, 65 types of mammals and the rare Vietnamese Salamander.
14 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 14 Tourist attractions
The picturesque beach resort town of Mui Ne is located at a four-hour train ride away from the city of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). Once a sleepy fishing beach village, the town is now dotted with swanky beach resorts, posh cafes and restaurants, attracting a large number of seaside-loving tourists and loc...
15. Mekong Delta
15 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
The Mekong Delta in south-east Vietnam is one of the world’s greatest river regions. The Mekong River is the twelfth longest river in the world and the seventh longest river in Asia. The delta is a hive of activity and serves as an important transport and agricultural hub. Known as the ‘rice bowl of...
16. Bai Tu Long Bay
16 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
Bai Tu Long Bay in Northeastern Vietnam is an extension of Ha Long Bay - A UNESCO World Heritage site - located at a mere 30 km from it. However, this small distance creates a vast difference in the experience that you can have here! The same limestone karsts, teal blue waters and languid crui...
17. Bach Ma National Park
17 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Bach Ma National park is a verdant paradise, located about an hour-and-a-half drive away from the city of Hue. Home to a varied range of flora and fauna with about 358 bird species, it is also proclaimed to be one of the wettest areas in Vietnam. One of the most popular spots on the touris...
18. Con Dao Islands
18 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 6 Tourist attractions
A picturesque archipelago of 16 Islands, Con Dao lies off the southern coast of Vietnam. Out of the 16, Con Son is the largest and the only inhabited island. However, even the uninhabited islands are rich with stunning beaches. Emerging out of its past as prison islands for prisoners of war, the de...
Best Time: November to February
19. Vung Tau
19 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 13 Tourist attractions
Vung Tau translates into 'The bay of boats'. Sitting on a hilly strip of land that juts into the Ocean, Vung tau is one of the best beach towns located around 100 Km from Ho Chi Minh City. It primarily serves as a weekend getaway from Saigon and other cities in the nearby region. The two main beache...
Best Time: March - May
20. Dong Hoi
20 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
A pleasant seaside city, with easy access to the Phong Nha Ke Bang caves, Dong Hoi is a rapidly rising tourist destination. Apart from its proximity to the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Dong Hoi has its own tourist attractions, authentic cuisine and unique history that beckon people to explore an...
Best Time: April - September
21. Dien Bien Phu
21 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 6 Tourist attractions
Formerly known as Thaeng, Dien Bien Phu is the capital of Dien Bien Province in the northwestern region of Vietnam. It is among the most historically eminent cities in Vietnam. It is here that the French were finally defeated in the year 1954 by the Viet Minh Communist Revolutionaries.Initially, jus...
Best Time: April to June, September to November
22 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
Son La is a picturesque Vietnamese town hidden amidst towering mountains. The town has a dark past as it played house to one of the most brutal prisons in the world. Today, all that remains is the ruins and a tiny town with ghosts of its past deceptively hidden behind its natural rivers, trees and f...
23. Cat Tien National Park
23 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Cat Tien National Park is located in the Southern region of Vietnam, approximately 155 kilometres away from Ho Chi Minh City. This forest reserve covers around 720 sq.km. of the few surviving tropical low-lying woodlands of Vietnam. The national park is home to exquisite flora and fauna such as the ...
24 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 3 Tourist attractions
Bac Ha is a village located in the Northwest of Vietnam and is a sleepy little town, the economy of which is centred around its Saturday and Sunday markets. The exchange, the colours, the local wares and an ever-bustling affair, these markets are usually visited on a day trip from the neighbouring S...
Best Time: December to April
25. Phan Thiet
25 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 2 Tourist attractions
Playing house to an amalgamation of heated sand dunes, lush mountains filled with greenery, golden beaches with blue water and gurgling streams, Phan Thiet is the perfect escape into the beauty of Mother Nature.
Best Time: September - December
26. Lai Chau
26 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 6 Tourist attractions
Nestled in the midst of sloping mountains and plateaus, Lai Chau is a quaint town with monumental government buildings. This town offers you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the mystic scenery of the Vietnamese countryside. In addition to that, you can learn about the locals, go trekking, backp...
27. Hoa Binh
27 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 5 Tourist attractions
Hoa Binh is the Capital City of the Hoa Binh province of Vietnam. Located but a short distance from Hanoi, this hidden gem offers spectacular natural beauty, coupled with a rich culture. The natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture have made Hoa Binh a tourist attraction.
Best Time: October to January
28. Lao Cai
28 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 7 Tourist attractions
Nestled in the midst of mountains and valleys, Lao Cai, an obscure yet well developed Vietnamese region offers you something out of the ordinary - rich Vietnamese culture sans the sultry tropical heat. Lao Cai offers you a picturesque scenery, adventure and a peek into the rich culture and history o...
Best Time: September to October
29 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 19 Tourist attractions
Haiphong is Vietnam's third largest city and a major port. Haiphong is an industrial city and you can feel it in the air as soon as you enter. However, Haiphong also offers you with hidden relaxation, tucked and hidden away in the industrial town. It has a number of beaches and markets in addition t...
30 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 3 Tourist attractions
Ca Mau is Vietnam's southernmost town and the only city in the Ca Mau province. Braced against the Bac Lieu Canal, Ca Mau is a town that is still trying to decide its identity. While on one hand, it is a trade hub and a bustling metro, on the other, it is a quiet town with a bird sanctuary!The silky...
Best Time: June - October
31. Mong Cai
31 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 6 Tourist attractions
Nestling on the very edge of Vietnam, Mong Cai is a small town located on the Vietnam-China border. It is filled with picturesque untouched beaches and a rich history of the Vietnam - China conflict. The town has booming trade owing to its proximity to the border. Mong Cai is also full of untou...
Best Time: April - July
32. Vinh Long
32 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
Vinh Long has a vibe - a relaxed one. As soon as you step foot in this nondescript town in the Mekong Delta, you will physically feel your worries melt away as though you are stuck in a time lapse. The beautiful scenery coupled with the friendly locals, thatched huts, narrow lanes and fruit-laden or...
Best Time: January - March
33. Tuy Hoa
33 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 7 Tourist attractions
Flanked by the highway, the ocean and the Da Rang River, Tuy Hoa is a sleepy and nondescript city that does not see many tourists. This quiet Vietnamese city is the perfect place to relax, catch some waves or intent with friendly locals who are more than welcoming of tourists. The miles and miles of...
Best Time: January - April
34. Mai Chau
34 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam 4 Tourist attractions
The perfect location to cut yourself off from the world, Mai Chau is a quaint sleepy town that is not very well known and subsequently does not have as many tourists. If you want to drop off from the earth and land in a richly cultural land, in the midst of nature, then Mai Chau is the place for you...
Best Time: February - April
35 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
A hidden gem in the Mekong Delta, the small sleepy town of Sa Dec belongs to the Dong Thap Province. The town has a sense of calmness in the air and does not draw too many tourists. Although a bit of a silent town, it can keep a tourist busy with places such as the old busy market by the river, old ...
36. Quy Nhon
36 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Quy Nhon is characterised by diverse topography ranging from hills, mountains, peninsulas, lakes, beaches and much more. This small corner of Vietnam is an undiscovered gem for most tourists eliminating your worries about crowded and noisy beaches.
37. Bien Hoa
37 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Bien Hoa is a busy town on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam. Close to the cultural heart of Vietnam, Bien Hoa is connected to it by Vietnamese Highway 1. At present, it fosters eco-tourism through its national parks and reserves. It is a huge industrial area that is expanding expon...
38. Cao Lanh
38 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
The refreshing town of Cao Lanh is the capital city of Dong Thap Province of Vietnam located on the southeastern coast of the country along the Mekong Delta. The newly flourishing city has a pretty good trade scene, especially in rice. The city does not give off a touristy vibe for the simple reason...
39. Hai Van Pass
39 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Hai Van Pass, between Da Nang and Hue, is said to be one of the most scenic and beautiful roads in the world. The road is flanked by the South China Sea on one side and the Annamite mountain ranges on the other. The pass stretches for 19 km and serves as a link between the north and south of Vietnam...
40 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Also known as the war city, Pleiku is the capital of Gia Lai province in Vietnam. The city has become the hub for tourists in Vietnam. This central highland offers a range of places to see, visit and eat. Famous for its cuisine and military campaign in 1965, Pleiku should especially be visited durin...
41. Tay Ninh
41 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Tay Ninh, the capital city of Tay Ninh province, is the site for the famous Cu Chi Tunnels built during the Vietnam War for military siege. It shares its borders with Cambodia and is only 90 kms from the largest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. The city’s crucial location gives it an economic advantage...
42. Kon Tum
42 out of 47 Places to visit in Vietnam
Due to the lack of a mainstream touristy vibe, the destination offers a calm off-centre experience to travelers and dwells them into the authentic Vietnamese culture. The city holds significance in the Vietnam War history and has many war sites open for visits by tourists and the locals. The surroun...
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Best places to visit in Vietnam: top 12 destinations
Due to its long coastline filled with diverse landscapes, distinct cultures, and great food, Vietnam is one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia for both natural and cultural lovers. Come and get lost in a quaint Hanoi , revel in the scenic mountains of Ha Long Bay , Ninh Binh or Sapa in the north, enjoy alluring cultural heritages of Hue and Hoi An in the central, pump yourself up in bustling Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and immerse in the beautiful nature of Mekong River Delta in the south. If beaches are what you’re looking for, Phu Quoc , Nha Trang , Mui Ne or Da Nang are just some of the most popular options.
In 2020, Sapa slips to the bottom of the list, mainly because of the many under construction. In contrast, the coastal alluring town of Hoi An becomes a must-see destination in Vietnam.
The peak time of the year to travel is from December to January, the first half of February, the second half of March and April. However, it’s possible to travel all year-round in this wonderful country of ethnic minorities and terraced rice fields. Check out the best time to travel to Vietnam in detail to fully enjoy your journey.
Just remember, during the 30th April (Reunification Day), 1st May (Labour Day), and 2nd September (Independence Day of Vietnam), domestic travel surges as these are public holidays in the country. Tourist attractions can be very crowded along with transportation and hotels booked out well in advance.
12. Sapa – The roof of Indochina
The frontier township of Sapa, located 1,500 m (4,900 ft.) above sea level in the northwest area of Vietnam, is the place to find jaw-dropping and unparalleled scenery. The steep of O Quy Ho pass contrast with the deep, green Muong Hoa valleys and terraced rice fields in Ta Phin village , with long winding roads weaving in and out of the hills. Throughout the region live a multitude of diverse, vibrant ethnic minority groups , such as the Hmong, Dao, Giay, and Tay to name only a few. The hill-tribe villages are hidden in bamboo forests, behind waterfalls, and within fertile valleys, making every town more beautiful than the last. The Roof of Indochina , Mount Fansipan , stands here at 3,143 m (10,300 ft.), offering a glimpse through the clouds and mist into the numerous valleys of North Vietnam and China.
Things to do
Recommended length of stay
Most travelers choose to spend 2 nights in Sapa. With 2 nights, you can explore the town and do trekking to hill-tribe villages and areas away from the central town. If you can manage to visit Sapa in the weekend, stay another day to attend Bac Ha market.
Time to visit
Sapa is beautiful year-round but there may be floods from June to September. If you wish to “date” with terraced fields, you should go in May – watering season or from the end of September to early October – ripe rice season.
Sapa offers accommodation for all tastes , from home stays in local minority villages to luxury hotels. Most properties are around the town itself within walking distance to the market, old church, and restaurants. The destination tends to be busy on weekends and quiet during the week due to heavy influx of domestic travellers. So when visiting the area, save money by scheduling your stay during the week or in months other than May, June, July and December.
Sapa serves unique dishes of local people in minority villages like Thang Co (horse soup), Com Lam (bamboo sticky rice), free-range pig, salmon hot pot, dried buffalo meat and many Asian or Western ones as well.
Destinations in Sapa are not far away from each other, so you can rent a motorbike at the price of around USD 5 per day. Cable car in a round trip to Fansipan costs USD 26 per adult and USD 18 per child.
How to get to Sapa
Hanoi – Sapa: 315 km
The only options are bus or train. Due to the rough road, it will take about 5 hours on the bus from Hanoi to Sapa. There are two options for the train to Sapa. The traditional trains with soft seat and soft sleeper. You need to spend 8 hours on the train and then catch a bus because the train only stops at Lao Cai station (35 km away from Sapa). For a better traveling experience, try privately-run sleeper cabin for which you pay 8 – 12 USD more.
Best places to go near Sapa
11. mui ne – a warm sandy coastal town.
Located in Phan Thiet city, Mui Ne is a coastal fishing town in southern Vietnam, the perfect getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. Mui Ne Beach and Hon Rom island are one of the most favored destinations here. The coastline is filled with a string of beach resorts ranging from budget to pricey and chic. Popular for the numerous wind-surfing camps in the area, check out Mui Ne between October and April to try this adventurous sport. Other interesting activities include surfing the gigantic Red sand dunes outside the city with sandboards and ATVs or taking a half-day gentle walk through the charming Fairy Stream Canyon.
Thanks to its relatively small size, 2 to 3 days is enough to enjoy the best things Mui Ne has to offer.
From December to April is the best time to travel to. Mui Ne is one of the localities with the lowest rainfall in Vietnam.
A hot destination for active travellers, Mui Ne has a fair range of hotels to choose from. The destination is visited year-round, thus hotel rates are quite stable. Although it is busier in the summer due to domestic tourists (May to August), you can always find a room with good value in Mui Ne any time of the year.
Food in Mui Ne is mainly seafood due to its location. This place is also famous for its trademark fish sauce. “Mai” fish salad and Grilled squid teeth are must-try dishes, which make up the uniqueness of Mui Ne cuisine.
If you are not interested in local food, there are a handful of western restaurants. Don’t expect fine dining in this town but for sure you can have good meals while staying here.
Banh quai vac
Taxi, private car, motorbike
Private car is great option if you are travel in group of 4 or more.
How to get to Mui Ne
Air There is no airport in Mui Ne or Phan Thiet city. You can fly to Da Lat (Lien Khuong Airport) or Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport), then continue to Mui Ne by road.
Bus or Train From Ho Chi Minh City, you can either take the train or bus to get to Mui Ne. The distance of 218 km takes you about 5 hours. The closest train station is in Phan Thiet city from where you continue by bus to Mui Ne (1 hour). The bus will drop you off in the center of Mui Ne.
Best places to go near Mui Ne
10. phu quoc – vietnam’s island paradise.
Phu Quoc is a tropical island , 40 kilometers away from the south coast of Vietnam, in the Gulf of Thailand. With a list of sandy palm-fringed beaches and turquoise water as Sao Beach, Long Beach and Khem Beach , these islands are one of the best beach destinations in Vietnam. The northern part of Phu Quoc is a part of a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve while the southern coastline is filled with luxury resorts, funky bars, and quaint cafes. Phu Quoc is also famous as the top producer of fish sauce – an essential spice in Vietnamese cuisine.
There is a bunch of activities on this paradise island. Do hiking in the Phu Quoc National Park and look out for wildlife. Tour the fish sauce factory and local Ham Ninh fishing villages . Dive the offshore coral reefs, kayak in the bays, watch the romantic sunset, or just lounge on the beach, followed by a fresh seafood dinner.
A 4-day trip is perfect for Phu Quoc. Use one day to explore the national park and one day for the local village, temples. Spend two days left to enjoy the beach. If you just want to relax on the beach, two days should be enough.
Feel free to enjoy this tropical paradise almost year-round except the rainy season from July to September.
Phu Quoc is home to some of the most beautiful beach resorts in Vietnam (JW Marriott, Intercontinental..). A vast bulk of hotels and resorts in Phu Quoc is on Long Beach or Bai Dai in the local language. You can find everything here, from budget hostel to 5-star beachfront resorts. If you want a place to stay away from the tourist hub but still easily pop into town, Bai Ong is the ticket.
Phu Quoc has been a hot destination for both domestic and international tourists. Therefore, food and beverage service is well developed. You can easily find local restaurants as well as western-style restaurants here. Being an island, seafood is no doubt the most typical food in Phu Quoc. Traveler can enjoy fresh seafood at a very affordable price. If you have a local guide, tell them to take you to buy seafood from local fishermen. They offer the freshest goods at a very good price. Some of the dishes you should try when traveling Phu Quoc: Banh Canh (fish and pork noodle soup), Bun quay (shrimp noodle soup), Goi ca mai (raw herring salad).
Motorbike, bike, bus, private car, taxi, electric cart.
Motorbike is a favorite vehicle to explore this island, but when it’s rain, you should consider a car or taxi instead. The average rental fee for motorbike is 150,000 – 200,000 vnd/day ($6.5 – $10). The electric cart is a new service for tourists, which is opened in late 2018. The route pass through most of the famous attractions in Phu Quoc.
How to get to Phu Quoc
Air Opened in 2012, Phu Quoc international airport is 9 km from the island center (Duong Dong town). The airport serves domestics flight from/to Can Tho, Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh. From Ho Chi Minh City, you can fly to Phu Quoc in 1 hour.
Bus + Boat Expect to spend around 8 – 10 hours if you choose this type of transportation. First, take the bus to Rach Gia Habor, which takes you 6 hours. Catch the ferry to Phu Quoc island (2.5 hours)
Best places to go near Phu Quoc
9. nha trang – a coastal resort city.
The coastal resort city of Nha Trang is another gem of Vietnam’s central region. The white sand beaches , shimmering turquoise waters , and luxury accommodation of the lux Ninh Van Bay rival that of Thailand is not only the landscape but hospitality. Come for the world-class beaches and stay for the eclectic cuisine, comprised of fresh seafood and interesting mixes like Bun Cha Ca, a rice noodle dish with grilled fish and jellyfish. It is also possible to discover the legacy of the Champa Kingdom , descendants of seafaring settlers who reached the Southeast Asia mainland from modern-day Borneo and Sumatra. The impact on modern society can be seen and felt at Po Nagar , a Cham-styled temple tower with intricate carvings. The Buddhist Pagoda of Long Son also showcases the heritage of Vietnamese settlers in the region.
Cheap seafood, beautiful beaches, exotic nightlife, three days in Nha Trang is the right amount of time to enjoy all of this.
This coastal town is alluring from December to April. The rainy season is from October to November.
One of the biggest beach destinations in Vietnam, Nha Trang is a prime beach vacation choice for many tourists and locals. Nha Trang has a wide range of hotels and resorts including many luxury brands such as Amanoi and Six Senses, found outside of the city in secluded bays. At the same time, budget accommodation is very affordable, usually found on the main drag of Tran Phu Street inside the city. Nha Trang is super busy during the summer (May to August) and between December to March. Book your room early when it comes to national holidays such as the Lunar New Year, Christmas, and Labour Day.
Nha Trang serves both diversified kinds of seafood and a wide range of international restaurants.
Private car, taxi, motorcycle, bicycle.
Depending on the model (mountain or city bike), bicycle daily rentals are priced between USD 4 and USD 6. The prices for renting a motorcycle are from USD 5 to USD 7.
How to get to Nha Trang
Da Nang – Nha Trang: 533 km Hanoi – Nha Trang: 1291 km Ho Chi Minh – Nha Trang: 433 km
Air Cam Ranh international airport serves Nha Trang area with domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, the airport is 30 km south of the city.
Train There are trains line connecting Nha Trang and other major destinations like Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Hue, Hanoi. The best way to buy tickets is to visit the station in person in advance. You can also buy them through a hotel/travel agency with an extra for commission.
Best places to go near Nha Trang
8. da nang – a coastal resort city.
Da Nang, from a transit point, has redefined itself into a worthy destination of Vietnam. Boasting long coastline with beautiful beaches and recently incredible bridges, Da Nang definitely worth a visit. Da Nang is among a few destinations that can offer both beach and mountain. Some of the must-see attractions are My Khe beach , Non Nuoc beach , Son Tra Peninsula , Marble Mountains , Ba Na Hills , Golden Bridge , The world cultural heritage My Son , Linh Ung pagoda . You can find excellent local street food as well as good western restaurants here. The city is located a 40 – minute drive from Hoi An and 2 – hour from Hue, which are both notable destinations.
Without taking day trips to neighbor destinations, the city of Da Nang is perfect for a 2-day getaway.
The best time to visit Da Nang is from November to April. March and April are the most exquisite months which are warm and dry, perfect for both beach activities and mountain trekking. Fireworks festivals are usually organized from May to July. There may be storms in November.
Da Nang witnesses a construction boom in tourist accommodation. Hotels and resorts spring up every day, giving travelers many choices from budget hotels to high-end properties. You can find luxury, world-class resorts in Da Nang, such as Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort or Pullman resort. Midrange hotels with a set of blocks close to the beach have the price from $40 per night. For luxury accommodation, it is from $100-200 each night. These often offer a beachfront location with a private beach and sea-view pool. Expect to pay up to $1000 each night if you truly want to make a splash in the private infinity pool of your multi-bedroom villa.
The local specialty is a must-try when you are traveling Da Nang. Mít trộn (mixed jackfruit), ốc hút (fried snails with lemongrass and chili), Chè xoa xoa hạt lựu (a type of sweet food), Bánh tráng cuốn thịt heo (Pork rice paper rolls) are some of the most famous local dishes in Da Nang. You can also find the famous specialty of Hoi An here in Da Nang – Quang noodle. If local food doesn’t suit your taste, you can easily find good western-style restaurants or Chinese, Korean, or Japanese food.
Motorbike, bike, bus, private car, taxi, electric cart, cyclo.
Use ride-hailing apps instead of the traditional taxi when traveling a short distance to save money. Grab is the most popular ride-hailing app. Cyclo is also an excellent way to explore the city. Cyclo service in Da Nang is professional compared to other destinations. It costs around $5/hour. The two electric cart routes run along the beachside road, passing by most of the iconic attractions.
How to get to Da Nang
Air Da Nang International Airport is in the city center with daily flights connecting the city with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Lat, Can Tho.
Train Da Nang train station is 5 km from the city center. The North to South train line has a stop in Da Nang, which allows you to travel Da Nang from all stations throughout Vietnam. There are also local train lines that connect Da Nang with Quang Binh, Quy Nhon, …
Bus Da Nang bus station is one of the busiest stations in Vietnam. There are numerous departures for northern and southern destinations every day.
Best places to go near Da Nang
7. mekong river delta – a vast labyrinth of rivers.
The Mekong Delta is a floating world made up of a vast maze of rivers and fertile, alluvial soil in southern Vietnam. Referred to as Dong Bang Song Cuu Long in Vietnamese, or the river delta of nine dragons, this haven for l ush rice paddies, wildlife, and tropical fruits and vegetables is a biological treasure trove of the world. Some of the most famous attractions in the region are Cai Rang, Cai Be floating market, Tram Chim national park, Tra Su Mangrove Forest, Sam Moutain . The shimmering Khmer Pagodas (Vinh Trang pagoda) of the largest city in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho , showcase a proud Vietnamese and Cambodian heritage. In addition, to the natural wonder of the area, the culinary delights abound in regional delicacies such as Lau Mam, a hotpot with fermented fish, and Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese-styled crispy pancake. As much of the lifestyle in the area revolves around the river, many of the villages are often only accessible by canals and boat, creating the atmosphere of land frozen in Cochinchine time.
If you want a quick look of the floating market and local life, a one-day tour could be enough. Stay for 3 to 5 days to fully experience more attractions of Mekong Delta.
This floating maze is worthy-visited in any season of the year. Ripe rice seasons are in early April, late August and late November.
Accommodation facilities are not as developed in other regions of the country. Most international visitors who choose to stay in the Mekong Delta instead of day-tripping from Ho Chi Minh City spend the night on cruise or in simple homestay . Most hotels cater to domestic guests with prices reflecting the local budget. A few boutique properties exist around My Tho and Can Tho but due to competition, fill-up quickly. If you wish to stay in one of these properties, book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Mekong Delta is lack of international dishes but serves flavorful ones like Hu tieu My Tho (My Tho noodle soup), Lau Mam (fish sauce hot pot), Dua Ben Tre (Ben Tre coconuts).
My Tho noodle soup
Ben Tre coconuts
It is an amazing experience to get on a boat ride along the small channels to admire the wildlife. You can also ride a bike around the smallest villages.
How to get to Mekong Delta
Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta: 193km Although the Mekong Delta has 12 different provinces, the most common route is to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho, which is home to the well-known Cai Rang floating market. Here are some suggestions for your 169-km-journey.
- Bus: It’s cheap, and there are many departures daily.
- Boat: An interesting way to travel and take a look at the local life on the riverside
- Airplane: Can Tho has an airport, so instead of sitting for 3 hours on the bus, you can shorten the traveling time with a 45-minute flight.
- Motorbike: If you like the feeling of immersing yourself in the scenery around, consider motorbike. It’s cheap and easy to rent one almost anywhere in Vietnam.
Best places to go near Mekong Delta
6. hue – the remains of feudalism.
Situated on the banks of the sleepy Perfume River , the imperial city and ancient feudal capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue, still retains much of its regal and grandeur of the days of old. Home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to the preservation of important historical attractions like the Imperial Citadel , Forbidden Purple City , and beautiful tombs of Emperor Ming Mang, Tu Duc, and Khai Dinh, Hue is the perfect place to start a journey into the ancient and recent history of not only central Vietnam, but the country as a whole. Feel the spirituality in Thien Mu Pagoda , brought to international attention during the Vietnam-American War. Dine on the exquisite and refined way of food preparation with the eponymous Bun Bo Hue , a type of spicy noodle and beef soup named after the city it was created in, and other classics like Bun Thit Nuong and Com Hen.
You should spend about two days in Hue, which give you enough time to visit the imperial citadel, tombs, and pagodas. If you keen on war history, spend one more day for DMZ tour. It will be a day trip from Hue.
From December to April, the weather in Hue is dry and cool, leaving ample time to enjoy the many historical attractions.. Most annual festivities are held in April. From late May to June is the time for heat waves with the temperature can reach over 40°C (104°F). Rainy season can occur in October and November.
Surprisingly cheaper than other destinations in Vietnam, Hue has lovely hotels and urban resorts around the legendary Perfume River. Although the choice is not as extensive as Hoi An or Da Nang, hotels in Hue are generally cheaper and offer a good value for money. Boutique accommodation with heritage rooms are priced between 35 – 75 USD per night, while stays along the pristine beaches of Lang Co start at 100 USD per night. Most hotels rent bikes free of charge to visit the charming city.
Hue is often credited with the creation of over 1000 dishes during the time of the Imperial Dynasties. The delicate mix of sweet and spicy flavours pairs nicely with the intricately prepared and styled meals. When in Hue, be sure to try the iconic Com Hen (clam rice), Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef soup), Banh bot loc (chestnut starch cakes), Banh canh (thick noodle soup), Nem lui (Lemongrass skewers). Expect to pay between 2 – 4 USD for meals in local restaurants and 6 – 15 USD in nicer restaurants with wi-fi and beautiful garden settings.
Private car, taxi, motorcycle, bicycle, cyclo.
Transportation costs in Hue are not expensive. Private car or taxi are the best option. Traveling by cyclo within Hue City Centre or driving a motorcycle at a cost of around USD 5 per day like the locals is also a good choice.
How to get to Hue
Hue is easy to reach from other popular tourist destinations in Vietnam by air, train or private car.
- option 1: Take the flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Hue
- option 2: Fly to Da Nang and take the chance to visit this amazing city. Travel to Hue by road
Train The north-south train line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has a stop in Hue. The rate varies depending on the speed of the train, type of seat/sleeping berth.
Best places to go near Hue
5. ninh binh – ha long bay on land.
The lush Red River Delta in northern Vietnam creates the dreamy landscape of Ninh Binh, often referred to as “ Ha Long Bay on land ”. Known for its karst mountains and hidden grottoes , cave temples , green valleys and shimmering rice fields , Ninh Binh is an incredible insight to the simple beauty of the Vietnamese countryside. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trang An Scenic Landscape complex and Tam Coc are best visited by rowing boat, while the Cuc Phuong National Park contains incredible vistas along its hiking trails. For an epic panoramic view of the river running through rice fields, climb the stairs to the top of Mua Cave . Nearby is the river gateway to Hoa Lu , the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. The largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam exists here, consisting of Bai Dinh and Bich Dong Pagoda, as well as Phat Diem Stone Cathedral .
2 days is the ideal time to discover highlights of Ninh Binh. However, if you don’t have much time and want to see as more as possible, one day tour is still fine.
Ninh Binh is scenic year-round. From late May to June and from late September to October, ripe rice fields add fascinating yellow to the picturesque scene.
Ninh Binh is emerging as a top destination in North Vietnam, with more and more properties added to its accommodation list. The city tends to have more budget hotels and homestays for quick stays. There are only a few high-end options available and some properties have a limited amount of rooms so you need to reserve early. Take advantage of the free bicycles on offer from most hotels to get the most of the dreamy landscapes.
Delicious dishes made from goat are Ninh Binh’s special cuisine. Besides, Com Chay (rice crust), Goi Ca Ghenh (Nhech fish salad), Oc Nui (mountain nails) are also popular. Ninh Binh does not serve many Western restaurants.
Tourists can rent a motorbike (5 – 7 USD/day) or a bike (3 – 4 USD/day) to explore the tiny paths next to the fields.
How to get to Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is 100 km southeast of Hanoi. The easiest way is to start from Hanoi. Bus and train take more than 2 hours while the private car takes under 2 hours. Ninh Binh’s bus station is near the railway station, which is a 15-minute drive from Trang An.
Best places to go near Ninh Binh
4. hoi an – coastal alluring town.
Ancient, peaceful, colorful, it’s why the charming city of Hoi An in central Vietnam is such a popular destination for travelers and locals alike. Indeed, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An’s Ancient Town is filled with traditional Vietnamese tube houses, heritage Chinese architecture of Fukian Assembly Hall or Cantonese Assembly Hall , a famed Japanese Covered Bridge and beautiful French colonial buildings, often painted in a sunny yellow. Hoi An is not only famous for its romantic ambiance but also its wonderful local cuisine, especially Com Ga (chicken rice), Cao Lau (a traditional noodle soup), and Banh bao – Banh vac, a secret recipe only available in the area. The vibrant handcrafted lanterns glowing in the evening dusk as small rowing boats gently glide down the Thu Bon River , and large amount of bespoke tailors and original handicrafts make this cute town the highlight of any trip to Vietnam.
Ideally, you should spend at least three days in Hoi An. You won’t regret it. Stay 1 or 2 extra days if you want to relax on the beach. An Bang is listed in the 100 best beaches around the world by CNN.
Hoi An is appealing all time of the year, but more elegant on Tet Holiday and every night of the 14th lunar month with lantern festivals held in the ancient town. March and April are warm, months to enjoy An Bang beach. It is blazing hot in late May, June and July.
One of the most iconic cities in central Vietnam, Hoi An receives millions of tourists from all over the world each year. The city boasts a beautiful selection of boutique hotels and resorts suitable for anyone’s budget. Most hotels can be found in the old town or along the seaside of Cua Dai. Many tourists choose to stay in Da Nang and make day trips to visit Hoi An. If you choose a hotel by the river outside of the city, you can expect a calm nice view of the countryside from your room.
Give a try to some specialties of Hoi An like Cao Lau, Com Ga (chicken and rice), Mi Quang (Vietnamese turmeric noodles), Hoanh Thanh (wonton dumplings). There are a few restaurants that serve European food, quite tasty and affordable.
Vietnamese turmeric noodles
White rose dumplings
Motorcycle, bicycle, boat, cyclo.
Getting around Hoi An by bicycle and motorcycle is the easiest and cheapest way because of the compact size and rarely busy traffic. Boat travel (about USD 3 in 30 minutes) is also popular when you desire to contemplate the beauty along Hoai and Thu Bon River.
How to get to Hoi An
Hanoi – Hoi An: 800 km Ho Chi Minh – Hoi An: 939 km Da Nang – Hoi An: 30 km Hue – Hoi An: 121 km
- option 1: Take a flight to Da Nang from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, then travel by road to Hoi An.
- option 2: Take a flight to Hue from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, continue to Hoi An by car or train.
Tourist Bus or train + bus Most of the bus and train will only stop in Da Nang from where you need to make your own way to Hoi An. Usually, the best option is the tourist bus or the deluxe bus. These buses depart from Hanoi, Hue, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh and take you direct to Hoi An.
Best places to go near Hoi An
3. ha long bay – spectacular tourist trap.
The natural beauty and aesthetic importance of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and natural wonder , is a true jewel in the crown of Vietnam’s beauty. Boasting a spectacular seascape filled with thousands of towering limestone islands, karst grottoes, and quaint junk boats cruising the sparkling emerald waters, visiting this area truly is like stepping into a fairy tale, the stuff of legends.
Legend tells of foreign invaders attacking Vietnam in its early stages as a new country. The Jade Emperor sent a family of dragons to help the Vietnamese defend their country; as the dragons descended from the sky, the dragons spit out jewels and jade into the water, which transformed into thousands of islands and islets, creating a strong wall that could not be breached. After the battle finished, the dragon family decided to stay on Earth and live out their days. The place that the Mother Dragon descended is known as Ha Long Bay – the bay of the descending dragon .
2 day 1 night is the most popular choice of traveler to cruise Ha Long Bay. For an in-depth experience and staying away from the tourist hub, plan to stay here for 2 or 3 nights, so you can reach Bai Tu Long Bay, Cat Ba island where you can immerse in untouched nature.
Ha Long Bay has the most gorgeous beauty in April with a crystal blue sky. The weather is pleasant from November to March, a good time to go. However, you should consider visiting in August and September due to its typhoon season.
Ha Long Bay has a wide range of hotel accommodations on offer. In addition to guesthouses, hotels, and resorts, there is also a large selection of cruises to choose from. The vast majority of foreigners stay at least 1 night on board to see the beauty of Ha Long Bay. Various types of boats and budgets are available from budget to top luxe. Don’t forget to book your cabin early to see the best of Ha Long Bay!
Ha Long Bay is home to a variety of seafood. Besides Asian restaurants, many Western ones are also served here.
Seafood noodle soup
Cruise boat, seaplane.
It is a humbling experience to jump on a 25-minute flight and appreciate the whole beauty of Ha Long Bay with the fare of around USD 130.
How to get to Ha Long Bay
There are many ways to get to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi, including bus, train or seaplane. The most popular and convenient way is the shuttle bus service, which departs Hanoi daily at around 8.am. It takes 2.5 – 3 hours for a Hanoi – Ha Long trip traveling by bus.
Best places to go near Ha Long Bay
2. ho chi minh – the most bustling city.
It’s hard to imagine the sprawling, modern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City once started out as a small fishing village surrounded by thick forests. Located in southern Vietnam , the economic center and bustling Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in regards to the population. Fondly referred to by its evocative older name of Saigon , Ho Chi Minh City retains a preserved air of its French colonial heritage in the old areas of the city while still reflecting the dynamic modern vibes of a cutting edge Vietnam. Key attractions such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral , Saigon Opera House , Central Post Office , and Ben Thanh Market reflect this colonial heritage, while the War Remnants Museum , Reunification Palace , and preserved Cu Chi Tunnels north of the city lay testament to the fighting spirit and recent history of the ravages of war.
2 to 3 days in Ho Chi Minh city is suitable for almost travelers. You’ll have enough time to experience the fantastic street food, great nightlife. With one week, you are able to take things at a slower pace and uncover the city’s hidden charm.
From December to April is the best time to visit this bustling city. Unlike its usual vibrancy, Ho Chi Minh City is more peaceful on Tet Holiday and Independence Day.
Ho Chi Minh City has a huge selection of hotels to choose from, ranging from Airbnb and hostels to chic guesthouses and top-notch branded hotels. The vast majority of hotels are concentrated in Districts 1 and 3. Overall, Ho Chi Minh City hotels are more expensive than other cities in Vietnam. Book early for your choice of the best accommodation.
Ho Chi Minh City is well-known for fabulous street food such as Pha lau, Hu Tieu (pork and seafood noodle soup), Bo Bia (jicama and carrots spring rolls), Banh Mi, Banh Xeo (Vietnamese crispy crepe). In addition, it has a strong coffee culture and huge number of international restaurants.
Bus, private car, taxi, motorcycle.
Due to the hot weather and traffic jams, motorcycle is not the ideal option for tourists although it is much more flexible and inexpensive.
How to get to Ho Chi Minh
Air Tan Son Nhat airport is the busiest airport in Vietnam. The airport has international flights connecting Ho Chi Minh and 76 destinations in 25 countries. There are also a number of domestic flights from Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue, Phu Quoc, Da Lat to Ho Chi Minh.
Train Saigon station is one of the stops in North-South line which run through the length of Vietnam, passing by most of Vietnam’s major destination.
Bus Ho Chi Minh has two large bus station and many tourist bus lines, providing departures to many places through Vietnam.
Best places to go near Ho Chi Minh City
1. hanoi – a quaint capital.
Hanoi became the capital of Vietnam in 1010 under King Ly Thai To, named Thang Long (Ascending Dragon). In 1831, Thang Long was renamed Hanoi, which translates rather poetically to “the city inside the river”
You will feel a magical vibration while wandering around this thousand year city, with all your senses, it’s hard to explain why. Amble down the labyrinth-like alleys of the Old Quarter , and see the hidden pagodas and temples waiting to be explored. Feel the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese when visiting historical sites such as Thăng Long Imperial Citadel , the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum , Hoa Lo Prison , One Pillar Pagoda , and Hoan Kiem Lake . Whether it’s the rich culture and heritage shown in the romantic French-influenced colonial architecture or the tantalizing smells of Pho and other tasty street foods wafting through the air, the charm and atmosphere are palpable.
Hanoi is one of the most interesting places in Vietnam. Some fall in love with the city, and a week here is not enough for them. If you like wandering non-touristy area of Hanoi, get sync with the local life here, you should spend at least 4 to 5 days. If you stay in Hanoi just as a transit to visit other nearby destination (Ninh Binh, Sapa ect.), do a full-day city tour. Many will say it’s too short, but still, it allows you to visit most typical attractions of this 1000-year-old capital city.
You can visit the pulsing Hanoi at any time of the year. On Tet Holiday and Independence Day, Hanoi stands out with its peaceful atmosphere.
Accommodation in Hanoi is centered around Hoan Kiem Lake in the popular Old Quarter. Small family-run styled hotels cost between 5 – 20 USD per night while a luxury stay at Sofitel Metropole will run above 200 USD per night. Guests looking for a quiet respite away from the hustle and bustle of Hoan Kiem District can head north of the city center to the quieter areas of Ba Dinh and Tay Ho District, where hotels like Pan Pacific and Intercontinental can be found with the per night average a little over 100 USD. Trendy airbnbs ranging between 10 – 15 USD are also on the rise, with independent travellers looking for more personal experiences.
A foodie paradise, Hanoi is chockfull of amazing culinary treasures, from small noodle shops and street food delicacies to trendy expat start-ups and fancy restaurants.
Some local dishes that you should try in Hanoi: Pho bo (beef noodles), Pho ga (chicken noodles), Bun Cha (Grilled Pork & Rice Noodles), Cha ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish), Banh cuon (Steamed rice rolls), Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), Cafe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee), Nem ran (Fried spring roll), Bo cuon la lot (Grilled beef in piper lolot leaves).
Ca phe phin
Private car, taxi, motorcycle, bus
The traffic in Hanoi is often unfathomable, with motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, taxis, cars, and 4 x 4s all clamboring for space, especially during commuting hours from 7:30 – 8:30 and 17:00 – 18:30. The ever-popular grab application is seen everywhere with motorbike taxi’s wearing their green uniforms, offering rides at a much cheaper, fixed rate than bargaining on the street with local “xe om”. Xe om’s can be arranged on the street corner for around 0.43 USD a km while taxis cost around 0.50 USD per km. Buses, often now with wi-fi connectivity, cost 0.30 USD and less per ride.
How to get to Hanoi
Air Located 35 km outside of the city centre, Noi Bai international airport is the largest airport in northern Vietnam. There are 51 airlines operating with international flights to more than 20 destinations. You can easily find a direct flight to Hanoi from many places all over the world.
Train From Hanoi train station, you can catch the train to the South (Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh) and to Sapa (in the north)
Bus With four bus stations, you can find buses to Hanoi from any provinces throughout Vietnam.
Best places to go near Hanoi
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- Vietnam Tours
- Vietnam Travel Guide
- Where to Go in Vietnam
14 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
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Mountains, rice terraces, majestic rivers, and dramatic bays; Vietnam is blessed with countless magical landscapes. The towns are full of history and atmosphere, and the great cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh buzz with life, twenty-four-seven. Wherever you choose to go, some aspect of the country’s rich culture – whether it is food, coffee, music or art – is waiting to be explored.
There is a huge amount to see and do on a Vietnam tour , but don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ve come up with twelve of the country's most interesting and beautiful towns, cities and natural sights. Of all the places to visit in Vietnam, these are the ones you shouldn’t miss.
- From Australia
Top Places to Visit in Northern Vietnam
Northern Vietnam is known for its culture and natural attractions. From the stunning limestone formations in Halong bay and rice terraces in Sapa, to Vietnam's capital, Hanoi; there are plenty of things to see in Northern Vietnam.
1. Halong Bay
Although often full to bursting with tourists, Halong Bay is still nothing short of spectacular. The vast landscape of craggy limestone islands rising up from the sea is mysterious and enchanting. There are countless places to see in Vietnam with gorgeous scenery, but Halong Bay tops the list. There’s simply nothing better than cruising around the bay, cocktail in hand, taking in the view.
- Kayak around the bay exploring the many lagoons, sea caves, and hidden lakes
- Get up early and take a relaxing Tai Chi class onboard, as the sun rises
Wide boulevards, colonial buildings, alleyways, and skyscrapers are side by side in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. The city has a rich, complex history which you can learn about in the many excellent museums. Spend a few days here and you’ll also learn how to order pho and navigate the crazy traffic.
- Head to the Old Quarter to see Hanoi’s traditional buildings, shop for local handicrafts and dive into the street food scene.
- Visit Hanoi’s museums, the best of which include the National Museum of Vietnamese History and the National Museum of Fine Arts.
If you want to see the Vietnam of the Instagram photos, come to Sapa. The hilly town is surrounded by stunning scenery – mountains, valleys, and a patchwork of rice fields that turns golden in the autumn sun. Sapa is the base for trekking in the region, with many affordable hotels, homestays and shops selling trekking gear.
- Enjoy a guided trek to the local tribal villages and take in the superb scenery along the way.
- Take a class with local villagers and learn the art of batik, embroidery or how to cook regional dishes.
- Trek to Mount Fanispan, the highest mountain in Vietnam.
4. Ba Be National Park
Looking to escape the city? Ba Be National Park is a breath of fresh air. Around five hours' drive from Hanoi, the park is the location of Vietnam’s largest natural lake which is more than seven kilometers long and 30 meters deep in parts. Explore the lake by boat, and hike in the surrounding countryside, which is home to rich birdlife.
- Tour the lake by boat and explore the many tunnels, caves and lagoons
- Find a local guide to accompany you on a hike to local villages inhabited by some of Vietnam’s many ethnic minority tribes.
5. Ninh Binh
Known as the ‘Halong Bay on land’ thanks to the limestone hills dotting the landscape, Ninh Binh is a relatively lesser known destination which is overshadowed by its northern counterparts like Ha Long Bay and Sapa. If you want to check out unspoilt parts of Vietnam, ancient citadels and caves, this is where you should go in Vietnam.
- Visit Tam Coc to take in the spectacular landscape of the limestone hills and maybe even climb one. Hang Mua, one of the peaks in Tam Coc can be conquered by climbing 500 steps to the top.
- Take a boat ride to Trang An along the scenic Sao Khe river and visit caves and temples surrounding the area.
- Explore a 10th century citadel in Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam.
6. Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Pu Long Nature Reserve is a series of mountains and valleys in Northwest Vietnam of remarkable natural beauty. This is where to come to discover Vietnam's tribal minorities, who live in traditional houses in the mist-covered mountains. Streams, waterfalls and lush vegetation are home to rare wildlife.
- Explore on foot or by motorbike and visit the villages of the Black Thai minority with a guide
- Stay in a traditional stilt house where you can enjoy home-cooked food, breath-taking scenery and discover Vietnamese rural life.
Top Places to Visit in Southern Vietnam
Southern Vietnam is known for its coastal cities, floating markets and Vietnam's largest metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City. If you are wondering where to go in southern Vietnam, visit the floating markets in Mekong Delta, learn about the country's history in Hue or relax in the white sand beaches of Phu Quoc Island.
7. Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s largest city is a lively, sometimes chaotic metropolis. Full of street markets, cafes, bars and buzzing with motorbikes, this is Vietnam at its most authentic. Spend any length of time in 'HCMC' and you’ll also discover a city teeming with culinary delights.
- Practice your bartering skills at Binh Tay Market, where you'll find lanterns, textiles, and other souvenirs. This is also a great place to sample the famous Vietnamese egg coffee and traditional street food.
- Reflect on Vietnam's recent history at the War Remnants Museum. Of all the places to visit in Vietnam telling the story of the country’s harrowing war, this is one of the best.
Hoi An is an ancient town on the Thu Bon River. Once a major port and center of the spice trade, the city has an atmospheric old quarter that is perfect for exploring on foot. Hoi An is also known for its vibrant culinary scene. If you’re a foodie, this destination should be top of your list.
- Hoi An is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam if you love food. Take a cookery class where you can hunt for ingredients in the market and learn to make the city's famous dishes.
- Relax on the waterfront with a beer, watch the boats meandering down the river, and grab some tasty food from one of the many street barbecues.
Insider's tip: Hoi An and Hue are among the must-visit destinations in Vietnam. It just so happens that one of the most spectacular rail journeys in Southeast Asia is between these historic cities. The train from Da Nang (near Hoi An) to Hue crosses the Hai Van Pass, which goes around a mountain instead of through it. This means you get spectacular sea views while the train winds its way through the jungle along the coast. There are only a few trains that travel in the daytime, so you need to get the ticket in advance. — James Clark from Nomadic Notes
9. Mekong Delta
Where the Mekong River reaches the sea is a landscape of fertile flood plains and farmland that is often called the rice bowl of Vietnam. One of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam, it’s a perfect spot to take in the view and observe Vietnam’s peaceful rural way of life.
- Cruise the river for a few days visiting floating markets, temples and charming delta towns that see hardly any tourists.
- Spend a night in a homestay and meet local people who will cook you the best Vietnamese food you have ever tasted.
10. Da Nang
Da Nang is a modern port city in central Vietnam with many bars, restaurants, and hotels, as well as a lovely beach. If you’re looking to get off the tourist trail and observe ordinary Vietnamese life, this is where to come. Da Nang also makes a good base for day trips to the ruins at My Son and the cities of Hue and Hoi An.
- Visit the Cham Museum to see the world’s largest collection of artifacts found in ancient Champa.
- Relax on the city beach, a six-kilometer strip of sand with a promenade lined with seafood restaurants and cafes.
- Visit the Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills, and admire the giant hands that "support" the bridge.
11. Phu Quoc Island
There are many places to visit in Vietnam if you’re seeking sun, sea, and sand; but Phu Quoc is the most idyllic. Lying off Vietnam’s south coast, Phu Quoc is a group of 28 islands fringed by white-sand beaches. Fast becoming Vietnam's top holiday spot, Phu Quoc has plenty of luxury hotels, restaurants and bars.
- Soak up the sun on one of Phu Quoc’s many sandy beaches and explore further afield to find the quietest spots.
- Walk around the night market and outdoor seafood restaurants in Duong Dong where you can dine on the catch of the day.
The former capital of Vietnam and seat of the Nguyen dynasty, Hue is one of the most intriguing places to visit in Vietnam. This cultured city is full of crumbling palaces and pagodas which you can explore on foot or by boat.
- Explore the Imperial City, which is now a world heritage site and undergoing restoration. Its ornate gates, palaces and temples are full of exquisite details.
- Take a boat ride down the majestic Perfume River, stopping off at ancient pagodas and royal tombs along the way.
If you’re sweltering in the heat, beat a path to Dalat, a resort town high on a plateau in Lam Dong Province. Where the Vietnamese come on holiday, Dalat is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam for outdoor activities. The cool climate is ideal for hiking in the surrounding forests and hills.
- Visit the Lam Dong Museum, which tells the story of the region through ceramics, jewelry, and other artifacts.
- Get outside in nature and try one of the many outdoor activities on offer which include mountain biking, rafting, and trekking.
14. Nha Trang
A picturesque beach town with a beautiful coastline, clear waters, and reefs, Nha Trang is one of the best beach destinations in Vietnam. But Nha Trang has more to offer than beachside fun, it is also home to natural beauty and rich heritage. From pagodas to waterfalls, there are many places to be explored here.
- Try fresh seafood coming straight from the fishing boats like prawns, squid, crab dishes or even jellyfish, prepared using the best fish sauce in Vietnam.
- Island hop the 19 islands just off the coast and snorkel among the coral reefs.
- Go inland and visit the Suoi Do Pagoda, Ba Ho waterfalls or Po Nagar Cham Towers.
A trip to such a diverse place as Vietnam takes some planning. Include some of these ideas in your itinerary, allow yourself plenty of time to see them, and you’re sure to get beneath the surface of this alluring country.
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